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A 14-year-old Ukrainian girl has died after being found unconscious on a beach in south Devon. 

Police were called to reports that the teenager – who came to the UK with her mother as a refugee from the war with Russia – had gone missing from the seaside town of Dawlish on Saturday evening. 

Searches by a police helicopter and coastguard tracked down the teenager to a beach in the town and she was airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital, where she later died. 

Formal identification has taken place and next of kin have been informed, Devon and Cornwall Police said. 

Her death is currently being treated as unexplained, with officers appealing for anyone with CCTV or doorbell camera footage to come forward. 

Dawlish, where the teen was found on Saturday evening, is pictured today

Dawlish, where the teen was found on Saturday evening, is pictured today 

The tragic incident has upset many local people in the area who are desperate for answers. 

Carol Evans, 72, volunteer at The Children’s Society shop, mother of two, widowed, from Dawlish, said: ‘I’m absolutely horrified, I think it’s dreadful. I hope it wasn’t somebody else that caused it.

‘I think people will be really upset about it. I ‘ve worked here for over 10 years. You get to know everybody here – I know 99 per cent of Dawlish.

‘We made friends with a lot of Ukrainian families – a lot of the ones we got on really friendly with have gone back.’

‘One girl always came in to reorganise the shelves. Really lovely and nice she was. We did get along. It’s such a shame.’

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Bike shop owner Radyk Modrzynsk said: ‘I’m in shock because my daughter is also 14 year old. I will definitely be talking to her about the situation when she gets home from school. It makes me worried for her safety too.’

The owner of a local farm shop expressed concern for the girl’s family and described himself as ‘in shock’ when he heard the news. He added: ‘I’ve got teenage children as well and I’m just in shock by it. Our concern is for the poor girl’s family.’

The local community in Dawlish, Devon have said they are looking for answers

The local community in Dawlish, Devon have said they are looking for answers

Meanwhile, a post office worker said: ‘After everything those poor Ukrainian families have gone through back home. It’s really awful to hear.’

Jim Kernaghan, 60, senior kitchen assistant at Brunswick Arms, said: ‘On Saturday evening the helicopter was coming over from the beach. It was there hovering around and circling for a while, so we assumed something was happening. I thought somebody might have got drunk and fallen in the water.

‘Nothing like this has ever happened in Dawlish.’

Mark Barber, 38, married, two children, chef at Brunswick Arms, said: ‘Normally when the helicopter’s out it’s a missing person because there’s a mental hospital nearby – so a patient might not have been back in time. We didn’t think someone was dead.

‘I’d just like a bit more information really because here’s nothing out there. I’ve got my own children I’m worried about.

‘I found out on the news. I’m concerned it’s something I need to be worried about.

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‘We often see Ukrainian families come through the pub for meals. It’s really sad news.’

A male punter at The Brunswick Arms, who drove out to the Polish/Ukrainian border in a van at the beginning of the war to deliver hundreds of pounds worth of aid to Ukrainians, said he came back a year ago today and expressed sadness at the news.

He added: ‘The amount of donations we had was unreal. We used the pub as a drop off point. There was food, clothes, blankets, towels.

‘The amount of support was overwhelming.

‘What I saw over there broke my heart. I remember giving out teddies to a little kid who’d lost everything. What I saw there broke my heart.

‘For that young girl, she’s seen a lot in Ukraine and she’s come here for a better life, and that’s happened to her – it’s heart-breaking.’

Mayor of Dawlish, Councillor Lisa Mayne said: ‘Our thoughts and profound condolences go out to the family, friends, and wider Ukrainian community in Dawlish at this heart-breaking time.’ 

Detective Inspector Becky Davies said: ‘We were called on the evening of Saturday 4 March with reports of a 14-year-old girl missing from the Dawlish area.

‘Localised searches took place with support from the police helicopter and coastguard and an unconscious person was found on Dawlish Beach.

‘She was subsequently airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where she later sadly died.’

DI Davies added: ‘The deceased girl was a Ukrainian national who was living in the Dawlish area; contact has been made with the Ukrainian Embassy and The Home Office are also aware of this incident.

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‘This death is currently being treated as unexplained and enquiries continue as to the circumstances surrounding this death. 

‘Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the teenage girl at this tragic time.’

Police said 'an unconscious person was found on Dawlish Beach' - pictured is Dawlish on Monday

Police said ‘an unconscious person was found on Dawlish Beach’ – pictured is Dawlish on Monday

Locals have also been paying their respects on social media. One wrote: ‘This is just heartbreaking for family and friends. RIP angel.’

Another added: ‘As if they haven’t suffered enough, terrible news. So sad.’

A post-mortem is due to take place on Thursday.

Anyone with any information or who may have CCTV / doorbell footage that can assist officers with the investigation is asked to contact 101@dc.police.uk quoting case reference 50230052081.

MailOnline has contacted the Home Office and the Ukrainian Embassy for comment. 

Police were called to reports of the teenage girl missing from the Dawlish area on Saturday evening (image taken on Monday)

Police were called to reports of the teenage girl missing from the Dawlish area on Saturday evening (image taken on Monday)

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